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Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

Overview
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie is a 1973 album by Willie Nelson. The recording marks a change of style for Nelson, who later stated that the album "cleared his throat". When Nelson refused to sign an early extension of his contract with RCA in 1972, the label decided not to release any further recordings...

 (1973), combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger
Red Headed Stranger
Red Headed Stranger is a 1975 album by American outlaw country singer Willie Nelson. After the wide success of his recordings with Atlantic records, Nelson signed a contract with Columbia Records, a label that gave him total creative control over his works...

 (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music. He was one of the main figures of outlaw country
Outlaw country
Outlaw country is a subgenre of country music, most popular during the late 1960s and the 1970s , sometimes referred to as the outlaw movement or simply outlaw music...

, a subgenre of country music that developed at the end of the 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound
Nashville sound
The Nashville sound originated during the late 1950s as a sub-genre of American country music, replacing the chart dominance of honky tonk music which was most popular in the 1940s and 1950s...

.
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Quotations

"Rather than trying to put an end to Eminem or some other rapper, politicians should think about why they're rapping. It's easier to try to censor some kid who's swearing about poverty than it is to stop the poverty."

Playboy|Playboy interview, November 2002.
Encyclopedia
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie is a 1973 album by Willie Nelson. The recording marks a change of style for Nelson, who later stated that the album "cleared his throat". When Nelson refused to sign an early extension of his contract with RCA in 1972, the label decided not to release any further recordings...

 (1973), combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger
Red Headed Stranger
Red Headed Stranger is a 1975 album by American outlaw country singer Willie Nelson. After the wide success of his recordings with Atlantic records, Nelson signed a contract with Columbia Records, a label that gave him total creative control over his works...

 (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music. He was one of the main figures of outlaw country
Outlaw country
Outlaw country is a subgenre of country music, most popular during the late 1960s and the 1970s , sometimes referred to as the outlaw movement or simply outlaw music...

, a subgenre of country music that developed at the end of the 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound
Nashville sound
The Nashville sound originated during the late 1950s as a sub-genre of American country music, replacing the chart dominance of honky tonk music which was most popular in the 1940s and 1950s...

. Nelson has acted in over 30 films, co-authored several books, and has been involved in activism for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana.

Born during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, and raised by his grandparents, Nelson wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at ten. During high school, he toured locally with the Bohemian Polka as their lead singer and guitar player. After graduating from high school in 1950, he joined the Air Force but was later discharged due to back problems. After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University
Baylor University
Baylor University is a private, Christian university located in Waco, Texas. Founded in 1845, Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.-History:...

 for two years but dropped out because he was succeeding in music. During this time, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky tonk
Honky tonk
A honky-tonk is a type of bar that provides musical entertainment to its patrons...

s. Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver is a city on the north bank of the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington. Incorporated in 1857, it is the fourth largest city in the state with a 2010 census population of 161,791 as of April 1, 2010...

, where he wrote "Family Bible" and recorded the song "Lumberjack" in 1956. In 1960, he signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which allowed him to join Ray Price's
Ray Price (musician)
Ray Price is an American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist. His wide-ranging baritone has often been praised as among the best male voices of country music...

 band as a bassist. During that time, he wrote songs that would become country standards, including "Funny How Time Slips Away
Funny How Time Slips Away
"Funny How Time Slips Away" is a song written by Willie Nelson and also performed by Willie Nelson. The song was included as a track on Willie Nelson's 1962, debut album, And Then I Wrote.-Cover versions:...

", "Hello Walls
Hello Walls
"Hello Walls" is an American country music song recorded by Faron Young. It became a massive hit in 1961, reaching #1 country and #12 pop, and introduced its songwriter – Willie Nelson – to a national audience....

", "Pretty Paper
Pretty Paper
Pretty Paper is a 1979 Christmas album recorded by country singer Willie Nelson. His title track had also been a hit Christmas song in 1963, when it was recorded by Roy Orbison...

", and "Crazy
Crazy (Willie Nelson song)
"Crazy" is a ballad composed by Willie Nelson. It has been recorded by several artists, most notably by Patsy Cline, whose version was a #2 country hit in 1962....

". In 1962, he recorded his first album, And Then I Wrote
And Then I Wrote
And Then I Wrote is the first album by country singer Willie Nelson, recorded in 1962. It was his first release in the 1960s and 20th century...

. Due to this success, Nelson signed in 1964 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee, that has presented the biggest stars of that genre since 1925. It is also among the longest-running broadcasts in history since its beginnings as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM-AM...

 the following year. After mid-chart hits during the end of 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, and the failure to succeed in music, Nelson retired in 1972 and moved to Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

. The rise of the popularity of Hippie music in Austin motivated Nelson to return from retirement, performing frequently at the Armadillo World Headquarters
Armadillo World Headquarters
The Armadillo World Headquarters was the premier music hall and entertainment center in Austin, Texas, United States from 1970 to 1980.-History:...

.

In 1973, after signing with Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records is an American record label best known for its many recordings of rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and jazz...

, Nelson turned to outlaw country, including albums such as Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages. In 1975, he switched to Columbia Records, where he recorded the critically acclaimed album, Red Headed Stranger. The same year, he recorded another outlaw country album, Wanted! The Outlaws
Wanted! The Outlaws
Wanted! The Outlaws is an album by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser, released in RCA Victor in 1976, and consisting of previously released material. Released to capitalize on the new outlaw country movement, Wanted! The Outlaws earned its place in music history by...

, which he recorded with Waylon Jennings
Waylon Jennings
Waylon Arnold Jennings was an American country music singer, songwriter, and musician. Jennings began playing at eight. He began performing at twelve, on KVOW radio. Jennings formed a band The Texas Longhorns. Jennings worked as a D.J on KVOW, KDAV and KLLL...

, Jessi Colter
Jessi Colter
Jessi Colter is an American country music artist who is best known for her collaboration with her husband, country singer and songwriter Waylon Jennings and for her 1975 country-pop crossover hit "I'm Not Lisa"....

, and Tompall Glaser
Tompall Glaser
Tompall Glaser is an American country music artist. Active since the 1950s, he has recorded both as a solo artist and with his brothers Chuck and Jim in the trio Tompall & the Glaser Brothers...

. During the mid 1980s, while creating hit albums like Honeysuckle Rose
Honeysuckle Rose (album)
Honeysuckle Rose is the soundtrack to the 1980 musical drama film by the same name, which stars Willie Nelson. Tracks on the album include songs by Nelson and various artists including Kenneth Threadgill, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Gimble, Hank Cochran, Jeannie Seely and Dyan Cannon.The song "On the...

 and recording hit songs like "On the Road Again
On the Road Again (Willie Nelson song)
"On the Road Again" is a song made famous by country music singer Willie Nelson, and is part of the soundtrack to the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose....

", "To All the Girls I've Loved Before
To All the Girls I've Loved Before
"To All the Girls I've Loved Before" was a 1984 cover of Albert Hammond's song by singers Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson, which appeared on Iglesias's album 1100 Bel Air Place. A breakthrough for Iglesias in the English language market, the song peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the...

", and "Pancho & Lefty
Pancho & Lefty
Pancho & Lefty is a honky tonk album by outlaw country musicians Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, released in 1983. A blockbuster album, Pancho & Lefty dominated country music for the year and helped establish both artists as two of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed of the genre...

", he joined the country supergroup
Supergroup (music)
In the late 1960s, the term supergroup was coined to describe "a rock music group whose performers are already famous from having performed individually or in other groups"....

 The Highwaymen
The Highwaymen (country supergroup)
The Highwaymen were an American supergroup comprising four country music artists well known for, among other things, their involvement and pioneering influence on the outlaw country subgenre: Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson...

, along with fellow singers, Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson
Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson is an American musician, actor, and writer. He is known for hits such as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", and "Help Me Make It Through the Night"...

. During 1990 Nelson's assets were seized by the Internal Revenue Service, that claimed that he owed US $32,000,000. It was later discovered that his accountants, Price Waterhouse did not pay Nelson's taxes for years. The impossibility of Nelson to pay his outstanding debt was aggravated by weak investments made by him during the 1980s. Nelson released in 1991 The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?
The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?
The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories? is an album by American country and western singer Willie Nelson. This album was made to help Nelson pay off his IRS debts...

, the profits of the double album, destined to the IRS and the auction of Nelson's assets cleared his debt by 1993.
During the 1990s and 2000s, Nelson continued touring extensively, and released albums every year. Reviews ranged from positive to mixed. Nelson explored genres such as reggae, blues, jazz, and folk. Nelson made his first movie appearance in the 1979 film, The Electric Horseman
The Electric Horseman
The Electric Horseman is a 1979 adventure and romance feature film starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda and directed by Sydney Pollack. It was the third time Redford and Fonda starred together in a feature film, having previously teamed on The Chase and Barefoot in the Park .-Plot:Sonny Steele ...

, followed by other appearances in movies and on television.

Nelson is a major liberal activist and the co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which is in favor of marijuana legalization. On the environmental front, Nelson owns the bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel
Willie Nelson Biodiesel
Willie Nelson Biodiesel is the name of an American company started by popular songwriter Willie Nelson. The company produces a biodiesel fuel called BioWillie made of soybean and other vegetable oils that can be used in modern diesel engines instead of regular fuel without vehicle...

, which is made from vegetable oil. Nelson is also the honorary chairman of the Advisory Board of the Texas Music Project, the official music charity of the state of Texas.

Early life



Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas
Abbott, Texas
Abbott is a city in Hill County in Central Texas. The population was 356 in 2010. It is perhaps best known as the birthplace of country musician Willie Nelson.-History:...

 during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 on April 30, 1933 to Myrle Marie (née Greenhaw) and Ira Doyle Nelson. The Nelson family had moved from Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

 in 1929, looking for work. Nelson's grandfather, William, worked as a blacksmith, while his father worked as a mechanic. His mother left soon after he was born, and his father remarried and moved away, leaving the grandparents, who both studied music at night via a mail-order course, to bring up Nelson and his sister Bobbie. Nelson's grandfather bought him a guitar when he was six, and taught him a few chords; and with his sister Bobbie he sang gospel songs in the local church. He wrote his first song when he was seven, and played the guitar for the local band Bohemian Polka at age nine. During the summer, like most of Abbott's inhabitants, the family picked cotton. As Nelson didn't like picking cotton, starting at age thirteen and continuing through high school, he earned money by singing in local dance halls, taverns, and honky tonks. Nelson was influenced musically during his childhood by Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell
Lefty Frizzell
Lefty Frizzell , born William Orville Frizzell, was an American country music singer and songwriter of the 1950s, and a proponent of honky tonk music. His relaxed style of singing was an influence on later stars Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, George Jones and John Fogerty...

, Ernest Tubb
Ernest Tubb
Ernest Dale Tubb , nicknamed the Texas Troubadour, was an American singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of country music. His biggest career hit song, "Walking the Floor Over You" , marked the rise of the honky tonk style of music...

, Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt was a pioneering virtuoso jazz guitarist and composer who invented an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique that has since become a living musical tradition within French gypsy culture...

, Ray Price
Ray Price (musician)
Ray Price is an American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist. His wide-ranging baritone has often been praised as among the best male voices of country music...

, and Hank Snow
Hank Snow
Clarence Eugene "Hank" Snow was a Canadian-American country music artist. He charted more than 70 singles on the Billboard country charts from 1950 until 1980...

.

Nelson attended Abbott High School
Abbott High School
Abbott High School is a 1A high school located in Abbott, Texas . It is part of the Abbott Independent School District located in southern Hill County...

 where, as well as raising pigs for the Future Farmers of America organization
National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is an American youth organization known as a Career and Technical Student Organization, based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education...

, he was a halfback in the school football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 team, and also played basketball as a guard, and as a shortstop in baseball. While still at school he sang and played guitar in The Texans, a band formed by his sister's husband, Bud Fletcher. After leaving school in 1950 he joined the United States Air Force for eight to nine months, then worked as a disc jockey at local radio stations. He had short stints with KHBR
KHBR (AM)
KHBR is a radio station broadcasting a format. Licensed to Hillsboro, Texas, USA, the station serves the Waco area. The station is currently owned by KHBR Radio, Inc....

 in Hillsboro, Texas
Hillsboro, Texas
Hillsboro is a city in and the county seat of Hill County in Central Texas. The population was 8,232 at the 2000 census.Hillsboro, located on Interstate 35 where I-35E and I-35W meet south of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, is the primary center for trade and commerce in Hill County...

 and later with KBOP
KWMF
KWMF is a radio station broadcasting a religious format and licensed in Pleasanton, Texas, USA. The station is currently owned by the La Promesa Foundation.-History:...

 in Pleasanton, Texas
Pleasanton, Texas
Pleasanton is a city in Atascosa County, Texas, United States. The population was 8,266 at the 2000 census. Pleasanton's official motto is "The City of Live Oaks and Friendly Folks." It is part of the San Antonio-New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area....

. In 1952, he married Martha Matthews, and from 1954 to 1956 studied agriculture at Baylor University
Baylor University
Baylor University is a private, Christian university located in Waco, Texas. Founded in 1845, Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.-History:...

, where he joined the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity
Tau Kappa Epsilon
Tau Kappa Epsilon is a college fraternity founded on January 10, 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University with chapters in the United States, and Canada, and affiliation with a German fraternity system known as the Corps of the Weinheimer Senioren Convent...

, but dropped out to pursue success in music.

Beginnings (1956–1972)


In 1956, Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver is a city on the north bank of the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington. Incorporated in 1857, it is the fourth largest city in the state with a 2010 census population of 161,791 as of April 1, 2010...

 to begin his formal musical career. His first record, "No Place For Me" included Leon Payne
Leon Payne
Leon Payne , "the Blind Balladeer", was a country music singer and songwriter.-Life:Leon Roger Payne was born in Alba, Texas on June 15, 1917. He was blind in one eye at birth, and lost the sight of the other eye in early childhood. He attended the Texas School for the Blind from 1924 to 1935,...

's "Lumberjack" on the b-side, but was not successful. Nelson continued working as a radio announcer and singing in Vancouver clubs. He sold the song "Family Bible" for US$50 to a guitar instructor, and the song turned into a hit for Claude Gray
Claude Gray
Claude Gray is an American country music singer-songwriter and guitar picker best known for his 1960 hit "Family Bible," which has been covered by many different artists.-Early life:...

 in 1960. Nelson moved to Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

 in 1960, but no label signed him. Although most of his demos were rejected, thanks to his songwriting and Hank Cochran
Hank Cochran
Garland Perry "Hank" Cochran was an American country music singer and songwriter. Starting during the 1960s, Cochran was a prolific songwriter in the genre, including major hits by Patsy Cline, Ray Price, Eddy Arnold and others...

's help, he signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music. After Ray Price recorded Nelson's "Night Life", Nelson joined Price's touring band as a bass player. While playing with Price and the Cherokee Cowboys, Nelson's songs became hits for other artists, including "Funny How Time Slips Away
Funny How Time Slips Away
"Funny How Time Slips Away" is a song written by Willie Nelson and also performed by Willie Nelson. The song was included as a track on Willie Nelson's 1962, debut album, And Then I Wrote.-Cover versions:...

" (Billy Walker), "Hello Walls
Hello Walls
"Hello Walls" is an American country music song recorded by Faron Young. It became a massive hit in 1961, reaching #1 country and #12 pop, and introduced its songwriter – Willie Nelson – to a national audience....

" (Faron Young
Faron Young
Faron Young was an American country music singer and songwriter from the early 1950s into the mid-1980s and one of its most successful and colorful stars...

), "Pretty Paper" (Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Roy Kelton Orbison was an American singer-songwriter, well known for his distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country & western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis...

), and, most famously, "Crazy
Crazy (Willie Nelson song)
"Crazy" is a ballad composed by Willie Nelson. It has been recorded by several artists, most notably by Patsy Cline, whose version was a #2 country hit in 1962....

" (Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline , born Virginia Patterson Hensley in Gore, Virginia, was an American country music singer who enjoyed pop music crossover success during the era of the Nashville sound in the early 1960s...

), which became the biggest jukebox
Jukebox
A jukebox is a partially automated music-playing device, usually a coin-operated machine, that will play a patron's selection from self-contained media...

 hit of all time.

Nelson signed with Liberty Records
Liberty Records
Liberty Records was a United States-based record label. It was started by chairman Simon Waronker in 1955 with Al Bennett as president and Theodore Keep as chief engineer. It was reactivated in 2001 in the United Kingdom and had two previous revivals.-1950s:...

 and was recording by August 1961 at Quonset Hut Studio
Quonset Hut Studio
The Quonset Hut, also known as Bradley Film & Recording Studios, was the first major recording studio on what would later become known as music row in Nashville, Tennessee.-Origins:...

. His first two successful singles as an artist were released by the next year, including "Willingly" (which became his first charting single and first Top Ten at #10) and "Touch Me" (his second Top Ten, stalling at #7), a duet with his soon-to-be second wife, Shirley Collie. Unfortunately, further hit singles eluded him. Nelson's tenure at Liberty yielded his first album entitled And Then I Wrote
And Then I Wrote
And Then I Wrote is the first album by country singer Willie Nelson, recorded in 1962. It was his first release in the 1960s and 20th century...

, released in September 1962. Fred Foster
Fred Foster
Fred Foster is an American songwriter, record producer, and founder of Monument Records.-Biography:...

 of Monument Records
Monument Records
Monument Records was an American record label, Washington, D.C. named for the Washington Monument, founded in 1958, by Fred Foster and Buddy Deane . Buddy Deane soon left the company, and in the early 60's bought KOTN in Pine Bluff, Arkansas where he retired to until his death...

 signed Nelson in early 1964, but only one single was released, "I Never Cared For You".

By the fall of 1964, Nelson had moved to RCA Victor Records at the behest of Chet Atkins
Chet Atkins
Chester Burton Atkins , known as Chet Atkins, was an American guitarist and record producer who, along with Owen Bradley, created the smoother country music style known as the Nashville sound, which expanded country's appeal to adult pop music fans as well.Atkins's picking style, inspired by Merle...

, signing a contract for US $10,000 per year. Country Willie – His Own Songs became Nelson's first RCA album, recorded in April 1965. That same year he joined the Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee, that has presented the biggest stars of that genre since 1925. It is also among the longest-running broadcasts in history since its beginnings as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM-AM...

. During his first few years on RCA, Nelson had no significant hits, but from November 1966 through March 1969, his singles reached the Top 25 in a consistent manner. "One In a Row" (#19, 1966), "The Party's Over" (#24 during a 16-week chart run in 1967), and his cover of Morecambe & Wise's "Bring Me Sunshine" (#13, March 1969) were Nelson's best-selling records during his time with RCA. After recording his final RCA single – "Mountain Dew" (backed with "Phases, Stages, Circles, Cycles and Scenes") in late April 1972, RCA requested that Nelson renew his contract ahead of schedule, with the implication that RCA would not release his latest recordings if he did not. He signed Neil Rashen as his manager to negotiate with the label, who got RCA to agree to end Nelson's contract upon repayment of US$14,000. During those proceedings, Nelson decided to move to Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

 and take a short break. Austin's burgeoning hippie music scene (see Armadillo World Headquarters
Armadillo World Headquarters
The Armadillo World Headquarters was the premier music hall and entertainment center in Austin, Texas, United States from 1970 to 1980.-History:...

) rejuvenated the singer. His popularity in Austin soared as he played his own brand of country music marked by country, folk and jazz influences. Rashen eventually signed Nelson to Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records is an American record label best known for its many recordings of rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and jazz...

 for US$25,000 per year, becoming the label's first country artist. By February 1973, Nelson was recording his acclaimed Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie is a 1973 album by Willie Nelson. The recording marks a change of style for Nelson, who later stated that the album "cleared his throat". When Nelson refused to sign an early extension of his contract with RCA in 1972, the label decided not to release any further recordings...

 at Atlantic Studios in New York City.

Outlaw country and success (1973–1989)



Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie is a 1973 album by Willie Nelson. The recording marks a change of style for Nelson, who later stated that the album "cleared his throat". When Nelson refused to sign an early extension of his contract with RCA in 1972, the label decided not to release any further recordings...

, released in May 1973, earned excellent reviews but did not sell well. The album led Nelson to a new style, later stating that Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie
Shotgun Willie is a 1973 album by Willie Nelson. The recording marks a change of style for Nelson, who later stated that the album "cleared his throat". When Nelson refused to sign an early extension of his contract with RCA in 1972, the label decided not to release any further recordings...

 had "cleared his throat". His next album, Phases and Stages, released in 1974, was a concept album about a couple's divorce, inspired by his own experience. Side one of the record is from the viewpoint of the man, while the other side is from the viewpoint of the woman. The album included the hit single "Bloody Mary Morning" and a duet of "After the Fire is Gone" with Tracy Nelson
Tracy Nelson (singer)
-Youth in Wisconsin:Nelson was born and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. There she first learned about R&B music from WLAC radio in Nashville. In her teens, Nelson sang folk music in coffeehouses and with a group called The Fuller's Wood Singers and was lead singer in a band called The Fabulous...

. Nelson then moved to Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

, where he signed a contract that gave him complete creative control, made possible by the critical and commercial success of his previous albums. The result was the critically acclaimed, and massively popular 1975 concept album Red Headed Stranger. Although Columbia was reluctant to release an album with primarily a guitar and piano for accompaniment, Nelson and Waylon Jennings insisted. The album included a cover of Fred Rose
Fred Rose (musician)
Fred Rose was an American Hall of Fame songwriter and music publishing executive.-Biography:Born in Evansville, Indiana, Fred Rose started playing piano and singing as a small boy. In his teens, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he worked in bars busking for tips, and finally vaudeville...

's 1945 song "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
"Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" is a song written by songwriter Fred Rose. Originally performed by Roy Acuff, the song was later recorded by Willie Nelson as part of his 1975 album Red Headed Stranger. Both the song and album would become iconic in country music history, and jump start Nelson's...

", that had been released as a single previous to the album, and became Nelson's first number one hit as a singer.

As Jennings was also achieving success in country music in the early 1970s, the pair were combined into a genre called outlaw country
Outlaw country
Outlaw country is a subgenre of country music, most popular during the late 1960s and the 1970s , sometimes referred to as the outlaw movement or simply outlaw music...

, since it did not conform to Nashville standards. The album Wanted! The Outlaws
Wanted! The Outlaws
Wanted! The Outlaws is an album by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser, released in RCA Victor in 1976, and consisting of previously released material. Released to capitalize on the new outlaw country movement, Wanted! The Outlaws earned its place in music history by...

 in 1976 with Jessi Colter
Jessi Colter
Jessi Colter is an American country music artist who is best known for her collaboration with her husband, country singer and songwriter Waylon Jennings and for her 1975 country-pop crossover hit "I'm Not Lisa"....

 and Tompall Glaser
Tompall Glaser
Tompall Glaser is an American country music artist. Active since the 1950s, he has recorded both as a solo artist and with his brothers Chuck and Jim in the trio Tompall & the Glaser Brothers...

 cemented the pair's outlaw image and became country music's first platinum album. Later that year Nelson released The Sound in Your Mind
The Sound in Your Mind
The Sound in Your Mind is the second Columbia Records album by country musician Willie Nelson.-Side one:#"That Lucky Old Sun " 2:20...

 (certified gold in 1978 and platinum in 2001) and his first gospel album Troublemaker (certified gold in 1986). In 1978, Nelson released two more platinum albums, Waylon & Willie
Waylon & Willie
Waylon & Willie is a duet album by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, released on RCA Victor in 1978. It was number 1 album on country charts for ten weeks. The record contains three songs sung individually by each of the two artists, as well as five duets...

, a collaboration with Jennings that included "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys
"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" is a country music song first recorded by Ed Bruce, written by him and wife Patsy Bruce. His version of the song appears on his 1976 self-titled album for United Artists Records. In late 1975–early 1976, Bruce's rendition of the song went to #15...

", a hit single written and performed by Ed Bruce
Ed Bruce
William Edwin "Ed" Bruce, Jr. is an American country music songwriter and singer. He is known for penning the 1975 song "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" .-Early life & songwriting career:...

. His next album, Stardust, an album of standards from the American songbook, was produced by Booker T. Jones
Booker T. Jones
Booker T. Jones is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, record producer and arranger, best known as the frontman of the band Booker T. and the MGs. He has also worked in the studios with many well-known artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, earning him a Grammy Award for lifetime...

. Though observers predicted that Stardust would ruin his career, it went platinum the same year. Nelson continued to top the charts with hit songs during the late 1970s, including "Good Hearted Woman
Good Hearted Woman (song)
"Good Hearted Woman" is the title track from Waylon Jennings' 1972 album. "Good Hearted Woman" was written by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson and performed by Waylon Jennings, the song spent eighteen weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart, reaching a peak of #3 in March 1972...

", "Remember Me", "If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time
If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time
"If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time" is a 1950 song by Lefty Frizzell, who co-wrote the song with Jim Beck, and it was his debut single. The single stayed at No. 1 for three weeks on the Most Played C&W Jukebox Records and peaked at number two on the C&W Best Seller list. The Frizell...

", and "Uncloudy Day".
During the 1980s Nelson recorded a series of hit singles including "Midnight Rider
Midnight Rider
"Midnight Rider" is a popular and widely covered song by The Allman Brothers Band, from their album Idlewild South. Written by Gregg Allman and Robert Kim Payne, the song has become a fixture of the band's live performances and an enduring standard...

", a 1980 cover of the Allman Brothers song which Nelson recorded for The Electric Horseman
The Electric Horseman
The Electric Horseman is a 1979 adventure and romance feature film starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda and directed by Sydney Pollack. It was the third time Redford and Fonda starred together in a feature film, having previously teamed on The Chase and Barefoot in the Park .-Plot:Sonny Steele ...

, the soundtrack "On the Road Again
On the Road Again (Willie Nelson song)
"On the Road Again" is a song made famous by country music singer Willie Nelson, and is part of the soundtrack to the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose....

" from the movie Honeysuckle Rose
Honeysuckle Rose (film)
Honeysuckle Rose is a 1980 romantic drama film directed by Jerry Schatzberg and starring Willie Nelson, Dyan Cannon and Amy Irving.-Plot:...

, and a duet with Julio Iglesias
Julio Iglesias
Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva , better known simply as Julio Iglesias, is a Spanish singer who has sold over 300 million records worldwide in 14 languages and released 77 albums. According to Sony Music Entertainment, he is one of the top 15 best selling music artists in history,...

 titled "To All the Girls I've Loved Before
To All the Girls I've Loved Before
"To All the Girls I've Loved Before" was a 1984 cover of Albert Hammond's song by singers Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson, which appeared on Iglesias's album 1100 Bel Air Place. A breakthrough for Iglesias in the English language market, the song peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the...

". Pancho & Lefty, a duet album with Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard
Merle Ronald Haggard is an American country music singer, guitarist, fiddler, instrumentalist, and songwriter. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster guitars, vocal harmonies,...

, and WWII
WWII (album)
WWII is a duet album by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, released on RCA Victor in 1982. Featuring six solo Jennings songs and five duet tracks, it was originally intended to be, as the title suggests, a continuation of or sequel of sorts to 1978's extremely successful Waylon & Willie...

, with Jennings, came out in 1982, while Take it to the Limit was released in 1983, also with Jennings.

In the mid-1980s, Nelson, Jennings, Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

 formed The Highwaymen
The Highwaymen (country supergroup)
The Highwaymen were an American supergroup comprising four country music artists well known for, among other things, their involvement and pioneering influence on the outlaw country subgenre: Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson...

, who achieved platinum record sales and toured the world. Meanwhile, he became more involved with charity work, such as singing on We are the World
We Are the World
"We Are the World" is a song and charity single originally recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa in 1985. It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album We Are the World...

 in 1984. In 1985, Nelson had another success with Half Nelson
Half Nelson (Willie Nelson album)
Half Nelson is a compilation album of duets performed by country singer Willie Nelson along with various other artists, released in 1985.- Track listing :#Pancho and Lefty - 4:50#Slow Movin' Outlaw - 3:38#Are There Any More Real Cowboys? - 3:06...

, a compilation album of duets with a range of artists such as Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

 and Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Percival Young, OC, OM is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation...

. In 1980, Nelson performed on the south lawn of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

. The September 13 concert featured First Lady Rosalynn Carter
Rosalynn Carter
Eleanor Rosalynn Carter is the wife of the former President of the United States Jimmy Carter and in that capacity served as the First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981. As First Lady and after, she has been a leading advocate for numerous causes, perhaps most prominently for mental...

 and Nelson in a duet of Ray Wylie Hubbard
Ray Wylie Hubbard
Ray Wylie Hubbard is an American Texas Country singer and songwriter.-Early life:Hubbard grew up in southeastern town of Hugo, Oklahoma. His family moved to Oak Cliff in south Dallas, Texas in 1954. He attended W. H. Adamson High School with Michael Martin Murphey, who had his own band at the time...

's "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother". Nelson frequently visited the White House according to his biography, Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, where he smoked marijuana on the White House roof.

IRS and later career (1990–present)


In 1990, the Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

 (IRS) seized most of Nelson's assets, claiming that he owed US$32,000,000. It was later discovered that his accountants, Price Waterhouse, had not been paying Nelson's taxes for years. In addition to the unpaid taxes, Nelson's situation was worsened by the weak investments he had made during the early 1980s. Nelson's attorney negotiated a settlement with the IRS in which he paid US$6,000,000, although Nelson did not comply with the agreement. Nelson released The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?
The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?
The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories? is an album by American country and western singer Willie Nelson. This album was made to help Nelson pay off his IRS debts...

 as a double album, with all profits destined for the IRS. Many of his assets were auctioned and purchased by friends, who donated or rented his possessions to him for a nominal fee. He sued Price Waterhouse, contending that they put him in illegal tax shelters. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount and Nelson cleared his debts by 1993.

During the 1990s and 2000s, Nelson toured continuously, recording several albums including 1998's critically acclaimed Teatro, and performed and recorded with other acts including Phish
Phish
Phish is an American rock band noted for its musical improvisation, extended jams, and exploration of music across genres. Formed at the University of Vermont in 1983 , the band's four members – Trey Anastasio , Mike Gordon , Jon Fishman , and Page McConnell Phish is an American rock band...

, Johnny Cash, and Toby Keith
Toby Keith
Toby Keith Covel , best known as Toby Keith, is an American country music singer-songwriter, record producer and actor. Keith released his first four studio albums — 1993's Toby Keith, 1994's Boomtown, 1996's Blue Moon and 1997's Dream Walkin, plus a Greatest Hits package for various divisions of...

. His duet with Keith, "Beer for My Horses
Beer for My Horses
"Beer for My Horses" is the title of a song recorded by American country music artists Toby Keith and Willie Nelson. It was released in April 2003 as the fourth and final single from Keith's 2002 album Unleashed. The song spent six weeks at Number One on the U.S...

", was released as a single and topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs
Hot Country Songs
Hot Country Songs is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.This 60-position chart lists the most popular country music songs, calculated weekly mostly by airplay and occasionally commercial sales...

 charts for six consecutive weeks in 2003, while the accompanying video won an award for "Best Video" at the 2004 Academy of Country Music Awards
Academy of Country Music
The Academy of Country Music was founded in 1964 in Los Angeles, California as the Country & Western Music Academy. Whereas the Country Music Association, founded in 1958, was based in Nashville, the Academy sought to promote country music in the western states. Among those involved in the...

. A USA Network
USA Network
USA Network is an American cable television channel launched in 1971. Once a minor player in basic cable, the network has steadily gained popularity because of breakout hits like Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Monday Night RAW, Suits, and reruns of the various...

 television special celebrated Nelson's 70th birthday, and Nelson released The Essential Willie Nelson
The Essential Willie Nelson
The Essential Willie Nelson is a two-disc compilation of Willie Nelson songs. This digitally-remastered compilation covers five decades of Nelson's recording career, and is part of Sony's Essential series of compilation albums.-Disc one:#"Night Life"...

 as part of the celebration.

Nelson headlined the 2005 Tsunami Relief Austin to Asia concert to benefit the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake...

, which raised an estimated US$75,000 for UNICEF. Also in 2005, a live performance of the Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

 song "Busted" with Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

 was released on Charles' duets album Genius & Friends
Genius & Friends
Genius & Friends is a 2005 studio album by rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, consisting of previously unreleased duets between Charles and musicians recorded during 1997 to 2005...

. Nelson's 2007 performance with jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Learson Marsalis is a trumpeter, composer, bandleader, music educator, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis has promoted the appreciation of classical and jazz music often to young audiences...

 at the Lincoln Center, was released as the live album Two Men with the Blues
Two Men with the Blues
Two Men with the Blues is a live album by multiple Grammy Award winners Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis. This album was released on July 8, 2008 on the Blue Note label. This album sold 22,000 copies in it first week of release...

 in 2008; reaching number one in Billboard's Top Jazz Albums and number twenty on the Billboard 200. In 2009 Nelson and Marsalis joined with Norah Jones in a tribute concert to Ray Charles, which resulted in the Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles
Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles
Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles is a 2011 live tribute album to American singer and pianist Ray Charles. Recorded by country music singer-songwriter Willie Nelson, jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, and jazz singer Norah Jones...

 album, released in 2011. In 2010, Nelson released Country Music
Country Music (Willie Nelson album)
- Personnel :* Willie Nelson - vocals; gut string acoustic guitar* Jim Lauderdale - vocal harmonies on 1, 2, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15* Buddy Miller - electric guitar; vocal harmonies on 5, 6, 8, 9* Chris Sharp - acoustic guitar; vocal harmonies on 11...

, a compilation of standards produced by T-Bone Burnett
T-Bone Burnett
Joseph Henry Burnett , widely known as T-Bone Burnett, is an American musician, songwriter, and soundtrack and record producer.He was a guitarist in Bob Dylan's band on the Rolling Thunder Revue...

. The album peaked number four in Billboard's Top Country Albums, and twenty on the Billboard 200. It was nominated for Best Americana Album in the 2011 Grammy Awards
53rd Grammy Awards
The 53rd annual Grammy Awards were held on February 13, 2011, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. They were broadcast on CBS with a rating of 26.6 million viewers. Barbra Streisand was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year two nights prior to the telecast on February 11. Nominations were...

. In 2011 Nelson participated in the concert Kokua For Japan, a fundraising event for the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, or the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST on Friday, 11 March 2011, with the epicenter approximately east...

 in Japan which raised US$1.6 million.

Other ventures


Nelson's acting debut was in the 1979 movie, The Electric Horseman
The Electric Horseman
The Electric Horseman is a 1979 adventure and romance feature film starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda and directed by Sydney Pollack. It was the third time Redford and Fonda starred together in a feature film, having previously teamed on The Chase and Barefoot in the Park .-Plot:Sonny Steele ...

, followed by appearances in Honeysuckle Rose
Honeysuckle Rose (film)
Honeysuckle Rose is a 1980 romantic drama film directed by Jerry Schatzberg and starring Willie Nelson, Dyan Cannon and Amy Irving.-Plot:...

, Thief
Thief (film)
Thief is a 1981 neo-noir film written and directed by Michael Mann and based on the novel The Home Invaders by "Frank Hohimer"...

, and Barbarosa
Barbarosa
Barbarosa is a 1982 motion picture starring Willie Nelson and Gary Busey, about a young cowboy on the run from the law who hooks up with a famous bandito and learns about life from him...

. He played the role of Red Loon in Coming Out of the Ice in 1982 and starred in Songwriter two years later. He portrayed the lead role in the 1986 film version of his concept album Red Headed Stranger
Red Headed Stranger
Red Headed Stranger is a 1975 album by American outlaw country singer Willie Nelson. After the wide success of his recordings with Atlantic records, Nelson signed a contract with Columbia Records, a label that gave him total creative control over his works...

. Other movies that Nelson acted in include Wag the Dog
Wag the Dog
Wag the Dog is a 1997 black comedy film starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, co-starring Anne Heche, Denis Leary and William H. Macy about a Washington spin doctor who, merely days before a presidential election, distracts the electorate from a sex scandal by hiring a Hollywood film producer...

, Gone Fishin'
Gone Fishin' (film)
Gone Fishin' is a 1997 American comedy film starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover as two bumbling fishing enthusiasts. Nick Brimble, Rosanna Arquette, Lynn Whitfield, and Willie Nelson costar.-Plot synopsis:...

 (as Billy 'Catch' Pooler), the 1986 television movie Stagecoach
Stagecoach (TV film)
Stagecoach is a 1986 made-for-TV film.It is a remake of the classic 1939 film Stagecoach andstars Kris Kristofferson as the Ringo Kid, the part originally played by John Wayne. Willie Nelson portrays famous gunslinger and dentist Doc Holliday. Johnny Cash portrays Marshal Curly Wilcox and Waylon...

 (with Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

), Half Baked
Half Baked
Half Baked is a 1998 stoner comedy film starring Dave Chappelle, Jim Breuer, Harland Williams and Guillermo Díaz. The movie was directed by Tamra Davis, and co-written by star Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan...

, Beerfest
Beerfest
Beerfest is a 2006 beer-themed comedy film by the comedy group Broken Lizard. Along with the regular members of Broken Lizard, other actors who appear in the movie include Will Forte, M. C. Gainey, Cloris Leachman, Kendra C...

, The Dukes of Hazzard
The Dukes of Hazzard (film)
The Dukes of Hazzard is a 2005 comedy film based on the American television series of the same name. The film was directed by Jay Chandrasekhar and released on August 5, 2005 by Warner Bros. Pictures...

, Surfer, Dude and Swing Vote
Swing Vote (2008 film)
Swing Vote is a 2008 comedy-drama film about an entire U.S. presidential election determined by the vote of one man. It was directed by Joshua Michael Stern and starred Kevin Costner, Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci, George Lopez and Madeline Carroll...

. He has also made guest appearances on Miami Vice
Miami Vice
Miami Vice is an American television series produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami. It ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984–1989...

 (1986's "El Viejo" episode), Delta
Delta (TV series)
Delta is a short-lived U.S television sitcom series produced by ABC starring Delta Burke. Burke plays a woman who leaves her life behind to pursue her dream as a country music singer...

, Nash Bridges
Nash Bridges
Nash Bridges is an American television police drama created by Carlton Cuse. The show starred Don Johnson and Cheech Marin as two Inspectors with the San Francisco Police Department's Special Investigations Unit. The show ran for six seasons on CBS from March 29, 1996 to May 4, 2001 with a total of...

, The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

, Monk
Monk (TV series)
Monk is an American comedy-drama detective mystery television series created by Andy Breckman and starring Tony Shalhoub as the titular character, Adrian Monk. It originally ran from 2002 to 2009 and is primarily a mystery series, although it has dark and comic touches.The series debuted on July...

, Adventures in Wonderland
Adventures in Wonderland
Adventures in Wonderland is a live-action musical television series based on Walt Disney's animated classic Alice in Wonderland. In the series, Alice , was portrayed as a girl who can go to and from Wonderland simply by walking through her mirror .Usually the...

, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is an American post-Civil War western/drama series created by Beth Sullivan. Dr. Michaela "Mike" Quinn, played by Jane Seymour, left Boston in search of adventure. She goes to Colorado Springs, Colorado where she establishes herself as doctor/adviser.The show ran on CBS...

, King of the Hill, The Colbert Report, Swing Vote
Swing Vote
Swing Vote is a 1999 television film, directed by David Anspaugh. It features an alternative reality where the Supreme Court of the United States has overturned the Roe v...

 and Space Ghost Coast to Coast
Space Ghost Coast to Coast
Space Ghost Coast to Coast is an American animated parody talk show hosted by the 60s Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Space Ghost. The show premiered on April 15, 1994 on Cartoon Network...

.
In 1988 his first book, Willie: An Autobiography, was published. The Facts of Life: and Other Dirty Jokes, a personal recollection of tour and musical stories from his career, combined with song lyrics, followed in 2002. In 2005 he co-authored Farm Aid: A Song for America, a commemorative book about the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of Farm Aid. His third book, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart, was published in 2006. In 2007 a book advocating the use of bio-diesel and the reduction of gas emissions, On The Clean Road Again: Biodiesel and The Future of the Family Farm, was published. His next book, A Tale Out of Luck, published in 2008 and co-authored by Mike Blakely, was Nelson's first fictional book.

In 2002, Nelson became the official spokesman of the Texas Roadhouse
Texas Roadhouse
Texas Roadhouse is a chain restaurant that specializes in steaks and promotes a western theme. Texas Roadhouse Corporation is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. The first restaurant was opened in Clarksville, Indiana, in 1993 at the Green Tree Mall across the Ohio River from Louisville,...

, a chain of steakhouses. Nelson heavily promoted the chain and appeared on a special on Food Network
Food Network
Food Network is a television specialty channel that airs both one-time and recurring programs about food and cooking. Scripps Networks Interactive owns 70 percent of the network, with Tribune Company controlling the remaining 30 percent....

. The chain installed Willie's Corner, a section dedicated to him and decked out with Willie memorabilia, at several locations. In 2008, Nelson reopened Willie's place, a truckstop in Hillsboro, Texas
Hillsboro, Texas
Hillsboro is a city in and the county seat of Hill County in Central Texas. The population was 8,232 at the 2000 census.Hillsboro, located on Interstate 35 where I-35E and I-35W meet south of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, is the primary center for trade and commerce in Hill County...

. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court allowed Nelson to invest in it. The establishment currently has about 80 employees and is used as a concert hall with a bar and a 1000 square feet (92.9 m²) dance floor.

Nelson has practised different styles of martial arts, beginning with Kung Fu during the 1980s, as well as Tae Kwon Do, in which he holds a Black belt
Black belt (martial arts)
In martial arts, the black belt is a way to describe a graduate of a field where a practitioner's level is often marked by the color of the belt. The black belt is commonly the highest belt color used and denotes a degree of competence. It is often associated with a teaching grade though...

 degree.

Music style


Nelson uses a variety of music styles to create his own distinctive blend of country music – a hybrid of jazz, pop, blues, rock and folk. His "unique sound", which uses a "relaxed, behind-the-beat singing style and gut-string guitar", and his "nasal voice and jazzy, off-center phrasing", has been responsible for his wide appeal, and has made him a "vital icon in country music", influencing the "new country, new traditionalist
Neotraditional country
Neotraditional country, also known as "new traditional" country, is a country music style that emphasizes the instrumental background and a 'traditional' country vocal style. Neotraditional country artists often dress in the fashions of the country music scene of the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s...

, and alternative country
Alternative country
Alternative country is a loosely defined sub-genre of country music, which includes acts that differ significantly in style from mainstream or pop country music...

 movements of the '80s and '90s".

Guitars



In 1969, the Baldwin company gave Nelson an amplifier and a three-cord pickup electric guitar, that Nelson played with such intensity he broke it. He sent it to be repaired in Nashville by Shot Jackson, who told Nelson that the damage was too great. Jackson offered him a Martin N-20 nylon-string acoustic
Classical guitar
The classical guitar is a 6-stringed plucked string instrument from the family of instruments called chordophones...

 and, at Nelson's request, moved the pickup to the Martin. Nelson purchased the guitar unseen for US$750 and named it after Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers, born Leonard Franklin Slye , was an American singer and cowboy actor, one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised stars of his era, as well as being the namesake of the Roy Rogers Restaurants franchised chain...

' horse "Trigger"
Trigger (horse)
Trigger was a palomino horse, made famous in American Western films with his owner/rider, cowboy star Roy Rogers.-Pedigree:...

. The next year Nelson rescued the guitar from his burning ranch.

Constant strumming with a guitar pick over the decades has worn a large sweeping hole into the guitar's body near the sound hole—the N-20 has no pick-guard since classical guitars are meant to be played fingerstyle instead of with picks. Its soundboard has been signed by over a hundred of Nelson's friends and associates, ranging from fellow musicians to lawyers and football coaches. In 1991, during his process with the IRS, Nelson was worried that Trigger could be auctioned off, stating: "When Trigger goes, I'll quit". He asked his daughter, Lana, to take the guitar from the studio before any IRS agent got there, and bring it to him on Maui
Maui
The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the state of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County's four islands, bigger than Lānai, Kahoolawe, and Molokai. In 2010, Maui had a population of 144,444,...

. Nelson then hid the guitar in his manager's house until his debt was paid in 1993.

Activism


Nelson is active in a number of issues. Along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp, previously known by the stage names Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American rock singer-songwriter, musician, painter and occasional actor known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock that eschews synthesizers and other artificial sounds...

, he set up Farm Aid
Farm Aid
Farm Aid started as a benefit concert on September 22, 1985, in Champaign, Illinois, held to raise money for family farmers in the United States...

 in 1985 to assist and increase awareness of the importance of family farms, after Bob Dylan's comments during the Live Aid
Live Aid
Live Aid was a dual-venue concert that was held on 13 July 1985. The event was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. Billed as the "global jukebox", the event was held simultaneously in Wembley Stadium in London, England, United Kingdom ...

 concert that he hoped some of the money would help American farmers in danger of losing their farms through mortgage debt. The first concert included Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

, Billy Joel
Billy Joel
William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American musician and pianist, singer-songwriter, and classical composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to...

, B.B. King, Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Roy Kelton Orbison was an American singer-songwriter, well known for his distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country & western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis...

, and Neil Young among many others, and raised over $9 million for America's family farmers. Besides organizing and performing in the annual concerts, Nelson is the president of the board of Farm Aid.

Nelson is a co-chair of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) advisory board. He has worked with NORML for years, fighting for marijuana legalization. In 2005 Nelson and his family hosted the first annual "Willie Nelson & NORML Benefit Golf Tournament", leading to a cover appearance and inside interview in the January 2008 issue of High Times magazine. After his arrest for possession in 2010, Nelson created the Tea Pot party under the motto "Tax it, regulate it and legalize it!".

Nelson supported Dennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich
Dennis John Kucinich is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1997. He was furthermore a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections....

's campaign in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries
Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2004
The 2004 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 U.S. presidential election...

. He raised money, appeared at events, and composed the song "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?", criticizing the war in Iraq. He recorded a radio advertisement asking for support to put musician/author Kinky Friedman
Kinky Friedman
Richard S. "Kinky" Friedman is an American Texas Country singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain. He was one of two independent candidates in the 2006 election...

 on the ballot as an independent candidate for the 2006 Texas gubernatorial election
Texas gubernatorial election, 2006
The 2006 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 7, 2006 to select the next governor of the state of Texas, who is serving a four year term that began on January 16, 2007. The Republican and Democratic Parties chose their candidates by primaries and convention. Primaries were held on...

. Friedman promised Nelson a job in Austin as the head of a new Texas Energy Commission due to his support of bio-fuels. In January 2008, Nelson filed a suit against the Texas Democratic Party
Texas Democratic Party
The Texas Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in Texas and the local branch of the United States Democratic Party. It is headquartered in Downtown Austin within close proximity to the Texas State Capitol.-19th century:...

, alleging that the party violated the First
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

 and Fourteenth Amendments
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

 of the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 by refusing to allow co-plaintiff Kucinich to appear on the primary ballot because he had scratched out part of the loyalty oath
Loyalty oath
A loyalty oath is an oath of loyalty to an organization, institution, or state of which an individual is a member.In this context, a loyalty oath is distinct from pledge or oath of allegiance...

 on his application.

In 2004, he and his wife Annie became partners with Bob and Kelly King in the building of two Pacific Bio-diesel plants, one in Salem, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Salem is the capital of the U.S. state of Oregon, and the county seat of Marion County. It is located in the center of the Willamette Valley alongside the Willamette River, which runs north through the city. The river forms the boundary between Marion and Polk counties, and the city neighborhood...

 and the other at Carl's Corner, Texas
Carl's Corner, Texas
Carl's Corner is a town in Hill County in Northern Central Texas. The population was 134 at the 2000 census. The town was founded by, and named after, Carl Cornelius, a local truck stop owner and long-time friend of Willie Nelson...

 (the Texas plant was founded by Carl Cornelius, a longtime Nelson friend and the namesake for Carl's Corner). In 2005, Nelson and several other business partners formed Willie Nelson Biodiesel
Willie Nelson Biodiesel
Willie Nelson Biodiesel is the name of an American company started by popular songwriter Willie Nelson. The company produces a biodiesel fuel called BioWillie made of soybean and other vegetable oils that can be used in modern diesel engines instead of regular fuel without vehicle...

 ("Bio-Willie"), a company that is marketing bio-diesel bio-fuel to truck stops. The fuel is made from vegetable oil (mainly soybean oil), and can be burned without modification in diesel engine
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

s.

Nelson is an advocate for better treatment for horses and has been campaigning for the passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503/S. 311) alongside the Animal Welfare Institute
Animal Welfare Institute
The Animal Welfare Institute is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 with the goal of reducing pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans...

. He is on its Board of Directors and has adopted a number of horses from Habitat for Horses.
In 2008, Nelson signed on to warn consumers about the cruel and illegal living conditions for calves raised to produce milk for dairy products. He wrote letters to Land O'Lakes
Land O'Lakes
Land O'Lakes is a member-owned agricultural cooperative based in Arden Hills, Minnesota, focusing on the dairy industry. The co-op states that it has about 3200 producer-members, 1000 member-cooperatives, and about 9000 employees who process and distribute products for about 300,000 agricultural...

 and Challenge Dairy, two of the major corporations that use milk from calves raised at California's Mendes Calf Ranch, which employs an intensive confinement practice that was the subject of a lawsuit and campaign brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund
Animal Legal Defense Fund
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is an American non-profit law organization that aims to protect the rights and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. It was founded in 1979 by attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law. The ALDF has campaigned for stronger...

.

Personal life


Nelson lives in Maui, Hawaii, in a largely self-sustaining community where all the homes use only solar power. Neighbors include Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson
Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson is an American musician, actor, and writer. He is known for hits such as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", and "Help Me Make It Through the Night"...

, Woody Harrelson
Woody Harrelson
Woodrow Tracy "Woody" Harrelson is an American actor.Harrelson's breakthrough role came in the television sitcom Cheers as bartender Woody Boyd...

, and Owen Wilson
Owen Wilson
Owen Cunningham Wilson is an American actor and writer, known for his roles in the films The Haunting, The Royal Tenenbaums, Zoolander, Meet the Parents, Wedding Crashers, You, Me and Dupree, Bottle Rocket, the Cars series, The Darjeeling Limited, Marley & Me, Midnight in Paris, Shanghai Noon,...

.

Willie Nelson has married four times and fathered seven children. His first marriage was to Martha Matthews; it lasted from 1952 to 1962, and produced three children: Lana, Susie, and Billy. The last committed suicide in 1991. The marriage was marked by violence, with Matthews assaulting Nelson several times. Nelson's next marriage was to Shirley Collie
Shirley Collie
Shirley Collie Nelson , born Shirley Angelina Simpson, was an American country music and rockabilly singer, yodeler, guitarist and songwriter...

 in 1963. The couple divorced in 1971, after Collie found a bill from the maternity ward of a Houston hospital charged to Nelson and Connie Koepke for the birth of Paula Carlene Nelson. Koepke and Nelson married the same year and had two daughters, Paula Carlene and Amy Lee. Following a divorce in 1988, he married his current wife, Annie D'Angelo, in 1991. They have two sons, Lukas Autry and Jacob Micah.
Nelson traces his genealogy to the American Revolutionary War, in which his ancestor John Nelson served as a major.

While swimming in Hawaii in 1981, Nelson's lung collapsed
Pneumothorax
Pneumothorax is a collection of air or gas in the pleural cavity of the chest between the lung and the chest wall. It may occur spontaneously in people without chronic lung conditions as well as in those with lung disease , and many pneumothoraces occur after physical trauma to the chest, blast...

. All of his scheduled concerts were cancelled and he was taken to the Maui Memorial Hospital. Nelson temporarily stopped smoking cigarettes each time his lungs became congested, and resumed when the congestion ended. In 2008 he started to smoke with a carbon-free system to avoid the effects of smoke in his lungs. In 2004 Nelson underwent surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an entrapment idiopathic median neuropathy, causing paresthesia, pain, and other symptoms in the distribution of the median nerve due to its compression at the wrist in the carpal tunnel. The pathophysiology is not completely understood but can be considered compression...

, as he had damaged his wrists by continuously playing the guitar. On the recommendation of his doctor, he cancelled his scheduled concerts and only wrote songs during his recovery.

Nelson has been arrested several times for marijuana possession. The first occasion was in 1974, in Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

. Twenty years later, in 1994, highway patrolmen found a marijuana cigarette in his car near Waco, Texas
Waco, Texas
Waco is a city in and the county seat of McLennan County, Texas. Situated along the Brazos River and on the I-35 corridor, halfway between Dallas and Austin, it is the economic, cultural, and academic center of the 'Heart of Texas' region....

; the resulting court appearance caused him to cancel his appearance at the Grammy awards. While travelling to Ann W. Richards' funeral in 2006, Nelson, along with his manager and his sister, Bobbi, were arrested in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana
St. Martin Parish, Louisiana
St. Martin Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is St. Martinville. As of the 2000 census, the population was 48,583.St...

 and charged with possession of marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Nelson received six months probation. On November 26, 2010, Nelson was arrested for possession of six ounces of marijuana found in his tour bus while travelling from Los Angeles to Texas. He was released after paying bail of US$2,500. Prosecutor Kit Bramblett supported not sentencing Nelson to jail due to the amount of marijuana being small, but suggested instead a US$100 fine and told Nelson that he would have him sing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" for the court. Judge Becky Dean-Walker stated that Nelson had to pay the fine but did not require him to perform the song, explaining that the prosecutor was joking. Nelson's lawyer Joe Turner reached an agreement with the prosecutor. Nelson was set to pay a US$500 fine to avoid a two-year jail sentence with a 30-day review period, which in case of another incident would end the agreement. The judge later rejected the agreement, claiming that Nelson was receiving preferential treatment for his celebrity status, when the offence normally carried a one-year jail sentence.

Legacy


Nelson is widely recognized as an American icon. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, and he received the Kennedy Center Honors
Kennedy Center Honors
The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The Honors have been presented annually since 1978 in Washington, D.C., during gala weekend-long events which culminate in a performance for—and...

 in 1998. In 2011, Nelson was inducted to the National Agricultural Hall of Fame
National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame
The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame was issued a rare federal charter by the US Congress in 1960 to serve as the national museum of agriculture and a memorial to industry leaders...

, for his labor in Farm Aid and other fund risers to benefit farmers.

In 2003 Governor Perry signed bill #2582, introduced by State Representative Elizabeth Ames Jones
Elizabeth Ames Jones
Elizabeth Ames Jones is one of the three members of the elected Texas Railroad Commission, a regulatory body that oversees the oil and natural gas industries in Texas — as opposed to railroads, as its name suggests...

 and Senator Jeff Wentworth
Jeff Wentworth
Earl Jeffrey "Jeff" Wentworth is a Republican member of the Texas Senate since 1993. He succeeded Republican Cyndi Taylor Krier , who instead became the Bexar County judge...

, which funded the Texas Music Project, the state's official music charity. Nelson was named Honorary Chairman of the Advisory Board of the project. In 2005, Democratic Texas Senator Gonzalo Barrientos
Gonzalo Barrientos
Gonzalo Barrientos, Jr. is a former Democratic member of the Texas Senate representing the 14th District from 1985 to 2007. He was also a member of the Texas House of Representatives from Austin from 1975 to 1985.-2002:-2000:...

 introduced a bill to name 49 miles (78.9 km) of the Travis County
Travis County, Texas
As of 2009, the U.S. census estimates there were 1,026,158 people, 320,766 households, and 183,798 families residing in the county. The population density was 821 people per square mile . There were 335,881 housing units at an average density of 340 per square mile...

 section of State Highway 130 after Nelson, and at one point 23 of the 31 state Senators were co-sponsors of the bill. The legislation was dropped after two Republican senators, Florence Shapiro
Florence Shapiro
Florence Donald Shapiro is an American politician from Texas. Shapiro is a Republican member of the Texas Senate, from 1993 to 1995 representing the 2nd Senatorial District and since 1995 representing the 8th Senatorial District which includes several cities, towns, and other outlying areas of the...

 and Wentworth, objected, citing Nelson's lack of connection to the highway, his fundraisers for Democrats, his drinking, and his marijuana advocacy.

An important collection of Willie Nelson materials (1975–1994) became part of the Wittliff collections
Wittliff collections
The Wittliff Collections, located on the seventh floor of the Albert B. Alkek Library at Texas State University, was founded by William D. Wittliff in 1987...

 of Southwestern Writers, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas
San Marcos, Texas
San Marcos is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, and is the seat of Hays County. Located within the metropolitan area, the city is located on the Interstate 35 corridor—between Austin and San Antonio....

. The collection contains lyrics, screenplays, letters, concert programs, tour itineraries, posters, articles, clippings, personal effects, promotional items, souvenirs, and documents. It documents Nelson's IRS troubles and how Farm Aid contributions were used. Most of the material was collected by Nelson's friend Bill Wittliff, who wrote or co-wrote Honeysuckle Rose, Barbarosa and Red Headed Stranger.

In April 2010, Nelson received the "Feed the Peace" award from The Nobelity Project
The Nobelity Project
The Nobelity Project is an Austin, TX-based nonprofit founded by Turk and Christy Pipkin, in 2006, while producing the film Nobelity. The nonprofit's principal goals include education and bettering the lives of people across the globe...

 for his extensive work with Farm Aid and overall contributions to world peace. On June 23, 2010 he was inducted into the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

’s National Recording Registry
National Recording Registry
The National Recording Registry is a list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States." The registry was established by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, which created the National Recording...

. Nelson is an honorary trustee of the Dayton International Peace Museum
Dayton International Peace Museum
The Dayton International Peace Museum is a museum located in Dayton, Ohio at 208 West Monument Avenue. It is the second peace museum to be created in the United States, with The Peace Museum in Chicago, Illinois being the first....

.
In 2010, Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

 renamed Second Street to Willie Nelson Boulevard. The city also planned to honor him with a life-size statue, to be placed at the entrance of Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits is an American public television music program recorded live in Austin, Texas by Public Broadcasting Service Public television member station KLRU, and broadcast on many PBS stations around the United States...

 new studio. The non-profit organization Capital Area Statues commissioned sculptor Clete Shields to execute the project.

For many years, Nelson's image was marked by his red hair, often divided into two long braids partially concealed under a bandanna. In the April 2007 issue of Stuff Magazine Nelson was interviewed about his long locks. "I started braiding my hair when it started getting too long, and that was, I don't know, probably in the 70's." On May 26, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Nelson had cut his hair, and Nashville music journalist Jimmy Carter published a photograph of the pigtail-free Nelson on his website. Reportedly, he wanted a more maintainable hairstyle, as well helping him stay cool more easily at his Maui
Maui
The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the state of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County's four islands, bigger than Lānai, Kahoolawe, and Molokai. In 2010, Maui had a population of 144,444,...

 home.

Nelson's touring and recording group, the Family, is full of longstanding members, including his sister Bobbie Nelson, drummer Paul English
Paul English
Paul English is Willie Nelson's longtime drummer who started playing with him in Fort Worth in 1955. He did not become Nelsons regular drummer until 1966, though. In the years in between he played with Delbert McClinton among others. In the early days, one of his duties was to serve as a strong...

, harmonicist Mickey Raphael
Mickey Raphael
Michael Siegfried "Mickey" Raphael is a professional harmonica player, best known for his work with Willie Nelson. He has recorded with Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Elton John, Mötley Crüe, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Chesney, U2 and Neil Young.Raphael's style is mostly second...

, Bee Spears, Billy English (Paul's younger brother), and Jody Payne
Jody Payne
Jody Payne is an American country musician and singer. He is probably best known as a longtime guitarist in Willie Nelson's band....

. Willie & Family tours North America in the bio-diesel bus Honeysuckle Rose IV, which is fueled by Bio-Willie.

Works


As well as recording sixty seven studio albums, Nelson has appeared in over thirty films and TV shows. His acting debut was in the 1979 movie, The Electric Horseman
The Electric Horseman
The Electric Horseman is a 1979 adventure and romance feature film starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda and directed by Sydney Pollack. It was the third time Redford and Fonda starred together in a feature film, having previously teamed on The Chase and Barefoot in the Park .-Plot:Sonny Steele ...

, followed by appearances in Honeysuckle Rose
Honeysuckle Rose (film)
Honeysuckle Rose is a 1980 romantic drama film directed by Jerry Schatzberg and starring Willie Nelson, Dyan Cannon and Amy Irving.-Plot:...

, Thief
Thief (film)
Thief is a 1981 neo-noir film written and directed by Michael Mann and based on the novel The Home Invaders by "Frank Hohimer"...

, and Barbarosa
Barbarosa
Barbarosa is a 1982 motion picture starring Willie Nelson and Gary Busey, about a young cowboy on the run from the law who hooks up with a famous bandito and learns about life from him...

.

Recordings
Films
Books
  • Willie: An Autobiography, Simon & Schuster, 1988, with Bud Shrake
  • The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes, Random House, 2002
  • The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart, Gotham, 2006, with Turk Pipkin
    Turk Pipkin
    Turk Pipkin is the co-founder of The Nobelity Project, an education and action non-profit which seeks to find solutions to many pressing global problems, and which advocates for basic rights for children everywhere...

  • A Tale Out of Luck (a novel), Center Street, 2008, with Mike Blakely
  • On The Clean Road Again: Biodiesel and The Future of the Family Farm, Fulcrum Publishing, 2007
  • Farm Aid: A Song for America, 2005, Rodale Books, foreword by Willie Nelson

See also


  • Inductees of the Country Music Hall of Fame
    Inductees of the Country Music Hall of Fame
    This is a list of inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame.Number of Inductees : 115 . Of these 15 are women and two are groups that include...

  • List of country musicians
  • Music of Austin
    Music of Austin
    The music of Austin, Texas, USA has gone beyond 6th Street and now includes other areas such as Red River, the University of Texas, the Warehouse District and Downtown, South Lamar, South Austin, East Austin and the Market District where bars and clubs of every kind can be found. Every night over...

  • List of best-selling music artists

External links


  • [ Willie Nelson] at Allmusic